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Doctors must take consent for any invasive procedure during treatment

  • The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has said that doctors must take consent of a patient or his family members for any invasive procedure during treatment. It held that a patient has a sacrosanct right with regard to his or her body.

    A bench comprising of Justice Ajit Bharihoke and Anup K Thakur said provision of taking consent could be overlooked only if urgent intervention was required to save the life of a patient. It held a Delhi-based Hospital guilty of negligence by not taking consent before inserting a catheter for central venous line procedure on a patient and directed it to pay a compensation of Rs 7 lakh.

    Advocate Nikhil Jain, appearing for the patient, contended that the doctors had not taken consent of family members and alleged that due to their negligence, the jugular artery was ruptured resulting in a lot of bleeding and he had to be shifted to another hospital for treatment.

    The hospital said that the procedure of insertion of CVL in the patient's neck was a routine procedure like giving injection and consent was not required as it was not a surgical or invasive procedure.
     
    NCDRC refused to accept the Hospital’s plea and said there was no merit in the contention and putting CVL in the body of a patient could not be equated with ordinary procedure.
     
    "Unless the procedure is crucial to save the life or preserve the health of the patient and it would be unreasonable to delay the procedure until the patient regains consciousness and takes a decision, a doctor cannot perform such procedure without consent of the patient. In the instant case, the insertion of catheter by Central Venous Line procedure being an invasive procedure carrying certain risk of complication, including injury to the jugular vein or bursting of the blood cells, the team of doctors was legally required to obtain consent of the patient", it said.


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